How long have you been training?

6 years, 4 months. Although I dabbled with weight training throughout high school and college, I consider February 11, 2013, to be the day I started my fitness lifestyle.

There have been ups and downs, but through hard work, research, and personal experimentation I have completely changed my physique while learning how the human body functions.

The journey to the top is long, but rewarding, and I have no plans to slow down.

I’ve experimented with many different training styles and diets in an attempt to find what works best for me. It’s an amazing feeling to know how your body will respond to a particular training routine, and I want to help you learn how to do the same.

Why did you get started?

I got fat. Plain and simple.

I’d like to thank all the kegs and pizza senior year of college for that one. That and a lack of discipline and confidence.

When I graduated, I looked in the mirror and hated the swollen, puffy-faced man-child staring back at me… love handles and all.

So I busted my ass to change that reflection.

I cut from ~19% body fat down to ~7.5%. Since then, fitness has become a core part of my lifestyle and I am on a constant journey towards more size, strength, and mobility.

What is your typical body fat percentage?

During the summer I usually cut down to around 8.5% body fat, but I stay between 9—12% most of the year while lean bulking.

If I hit 12.5%, I usually start a “mini-cut” by adding in some additional HIIT and circuits to get back down to a more aesthetic range.

What types of training do you enjoy?

Bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, and conditioning.

I perform many variations of movements in order to hit my muscles from several angels to encourage the most structural integrity and growth. This has the added benefit of avoiding monotony. Win-win.

I follow effective, challenging training routines, and I don’t follow the herd. You’ll never see me running on a treadmill for 45+ minutes…

Do you eat before training?

I usually have a small meal or snack one to three hours before training, since having a bigger meal makes me feel bloated and sluggish. I’ll train fasted if it’s first thing in the morning.

P.S. If you squat on a full stomach you may want to bring a puke bucket.

What do you do for cutting?

Intermittent fasting is one of the tools I use to lean out so quickly, and 18 to 20-hour fasts are a daily practice when I’m cutting. I’ll usually throw in a cheat day every two weeks, followed immediately by a 24-hour fast, which isn’t difficult after gorging for two hours at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

This simple tool allows me to shred fat while retaining my muscle and sanity.

What do you do for bulking?

Eat big. It’s that simple.

If you want to be more precise, you can calculate your macros and aim to hit your calorie and macronutrient targets each day. Also, I generally feel best when I’m consuming clean, whole foods.

What supplements do you take?

I’m not too big on using supplements to replace food; however, I am all for using supplements that target various body functions and improve my overall health and well-being.

This is my current supplement regimen.

What training gear do you use?

I am a big believer in unassisted lifting during a majority of training, except in cases when you are using gear to protect your joints or to target a specific muscle group.

Here’s a few things I keep in my gym bag / closet:

  • Wrist wraps.
    • Unfortunately I have wrists the size of a ten-year-old girl, so I frequently use wrist wraps to protect them whenever I’m pressing in the 1-5 rep range. Luckily, smaller joints have the added benefit of aesthetic tapers between the muscle groups.
  • Lifting straps.
  • Chalk.
    • Sweaty hands = bad grip. Chalk = better grip.
    • Don’t forget a chalk bag.
  • Weight belt.
    • I add additional weight to this belt and perform heavier pullups and dips. It’s better for you functionally if you perform these natural movements, instead of adding more weight by using a lat pull-down machine, which is better suited for hypertrophy than a pullup.
  • Fat Gripz.
    • These are awesome for fully activating your forearms and will help add overall mass and strength to your arms, also translating into bigger gains in your other lifts. Just don’t use them all the time.
  • Lifting belt.
    • I’ve been using this fantastic belt from Pump Chasers for a while now when lifting heavier. I typically avoid using a belt for most sets outside of my heavier working sets. This helps you keep a stronger core while remaining safe during max effort attempts.
    • The King of Quality would go to Rogue Fitness for this one.
  • Neck harness.
    • I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have the body of a beast… with a pencil for a neck. I use a neck harness as part of my regimen every now and then. Having a thicker neck makes you harder to knock out too.
  • Knee wraps.
    • Knee wraps help to keep your knees tight and warm while squatting, and the elastic response allows you to lift slightly heavier weights. I have used them in the past when my knees have been hurting, but I have since solved that issue with mobility work. Also, knee wraps can tend to place more strain on the knee joint over time, although you’ll be able to lift more weight.
    • Now, I use knee sleeves for their compression and to stimulate blood flow while keeping the knees warm, without the excessive compression associated with knee wraps.
  • Foam roller & lacrosse ball.
    • I use both of these as part of my recovery routine. Gotta make sweet, painful love to those fascia.

What “gear” do you use?

All natural beef here. I don’t have experience with steroids, but I also don’t have anything against those that use them. Everyone has a choice to make when they get serious about this lifestyle, and whether you’re natural or enhanced, you still have to put in the same work under the iron.

The closest thing to a steroid that I’ve taken would be OSTA-RED, which is nowhere near a steroid. Read my full review for more information.

I also cycle RED-PCT every now and then for testosterone benefits. I absolutely LOVE this supplement. You can read its review here.

We’re all brothers here. I ain’t judging you if you juice. Just be safe and inform yourself as much as possible if you decide to start a cycle.

Do you ever plan on competing?

Possibly in a powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or strongman competition. Probably not in bodybuilding or physique simply because I don’t want to cut down to such a low body fat. My face started to look like Skeletor when I made it down to 7.5%… Not cool. Plus, when you are shredded as a natural, your hormones suffer.